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Banish Stress with Simpler Schedules

Christine Pafumi
Oct. 25, 2012

One mom shares how she keeps schedules to a minimum to avoid stress as part of the Care.com Interview Series

Tracy Morrison knows when to say no. The Sellabit Mum blogger believes that by over-scheduling our lives, we're just asking for more stress. Morrison shares how taking time for herself every day - even if that means setting a timer to keep her kids at bay - has transformed her family's stress levels. See why Morrison insists on waking up early and how she's learned that running late isn't the end of the world.

Tell us about your family

My husband and I have been together for 14 years and married for 10. We have three daughters, ages 9, 7 and 3. Oh and two cats. I don't love the cats but the girls love the cats so they stay.

As a mom juggling kids, family and everything that comes with it, how do you generally handle stress?

We try to work as much fun and downtime into our routines to keep stress at bay. And of course, when I can I like to go out for wine and good conversation with my girlfriends to let off some steam.

Tell us about your most common stresses? How have you dealt with them? Has it gotten easier/harder to deal with?

Our most common stress comes from being over-scheduled. Now we try to really control what we say yes to and limit afterschool activities. We get a bit smarter every year.

Do you have any daily stress-busting rituals or routines? What are they?

Yes - I take a run and work-out every morning before my family gets up and also try to get some work done before they rise. Yes, this means I get up at 4:30 every morning, but truly without my magic two hours in the morning that are all my own, I would never feel great during the day.

There is no denying it - sometimes mom just needs 'me time.' Imagine that you have 30 minutes of free time to yourself. How do you spend it?

I do have this time every morning and use it to work out and then catch-up on emails and drink coffee in a quiet house before everyone else is awake.

Is it hard to break away for a moment of relaxation for yourself? What is your trick for getting away and making time for mom?

I have a funny routine that my kids laugh about. At about 3pm everyday I pour a cup of coffee and set a timer and tell my kids not to talk to me for 15 minutes until the timer goes off. They totally respect that. That 15 minutes gets me through the rest of the evening.

If you are in the middle of stressful day and there is nothing you can do to get a minute to yourself, what is your quick trick to de-stress in the moment?

Usually just to sit for a moment and take a deep breath and reorganize my thoughts. It's always good to just take a quick time out for yourself if you can.

Do you feel that your stress can project onto the kids? How do you keep your own emotions in check?

Oh yes - especially if we are running late for something. I catch myself snapping at them and it's not fair to them. I try to just make the best of the situation now and relax more about the little things.

What have you learned about dealing with stress over the years?

That I do better with some advanced planning. I try to stay better organized, I keep a better calendar and I make more time for myself.

The kids are finally tucked in for the night - how do you unwind?

I love to read, catch up on social media, and online shop. I love a nice cup of tea in the evening or a glass of wine with girlfriends.

If you could share one stress-busting tip with other moms, what would it be?

Try not to over-schedule yourself. It's okay to say no sometimes.

Tracy Morrison is the writer behind the popular humor and parenting blog Sellabit Mum. An ex-corporate ladder climber turned writer, social media maven, Tracy is the ruler of her own little universe. She lives in Minnesota with her husband, three girls and two cats. Find Tracy on Twitter and Facebook.

For more helpful tips, check out the Care.com Interview Series: Mom-Stress Busters ยป

Photo used with permission from Tracy Morrison.

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